Ceramic beads are becoming very popular in the art bead world lately. The world of ceramics can be full of confusing terms, which those who have not worked in clay may not be familiar with. There are many kinds of ceramics including porcelain, stoneware, raku, and earthenware. Today we will explore the world of earthenware beads. All the beads in today's post are from the site FiredClayArtists.com
Earthenware beads are generally low fired earth clays, which can be almost any color of clay from white to deep red. The clays can be worked in many ways: by hand, in molds, with stamps...almost any way that you can imagine. Here is a white or light earthenware pendant by Captain's Clay which is stamped with a sunburst design.
This colorful pendant by Shaterra Clay Studio is a great example of one of the reasons artists choose earthenware as a material. White earthenware can be glazed with a multitude of bright and vibrant colors, which is a perfect for a bead artist who enjoys color and a painterly approach.
This set of beads by Clay Babes is another great example of color in earthenware beads. Earthenware is also light weight, so it is a great choice of art bead for multiple repeating designs.
Earthenware clays can be painted with special glazes called underglazes, which can be applied to create large fields of color as well as detailed design elements, like in these plain, striped, and polka dotted beads by Buttons, Beads-n-Other Things
A bead artist with a very steady hand and an eye for graphic design can make incredible painted beads with underglazes, like these detailed ladybug beads by Mount Taylor Mudworks
This pendant shows more of the complex treatments that earthenware can lend to a bead, with both glossy and dry areas, linear graphic qualities, and bold color. This coral colored, fan shaped pendant is made by Virginia Miska
The detail that one can acheive with earthenware and underglaze is only as limited as the patience (and paintbrush) of the artist. Take these tiny earthenware flowers and leaves by Ladybrook Designs, which measure only about 1/4 inch in size.
I hope these examples of earthenware beads help describe some of the wonderful varieties of ceramic Art Beads that are available. To see more styles, look around at all of the ceramic beads available at FiredClayArtists.com and check back here for more WikiBeadia descriptions of other types of beads and materials